National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) connects print disabled readers to books

by Kris Jorgensen

(Victoria, BC, December 3, 2014)

Today, on the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) celebrates its first birthday! NNELS extends access to a growing collection of accessible library titles produced by, for, and with Canadians with visual impairments and print disabilities. NNELS connects public library patrons with the materials and formats they want, emphasizing user-requested content.

NNELS launched province-wide in Saskatchewan, Canada on December 3, 2013, and has since grown to serve residents in the Provinces of BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and the North West Territories, at more than 1000 public libraries, and online at

An opt-in service framework and an innovative technology platform, NNELS leverages community-owned infrastructure and open source distributed file-sharing technology. NNELS is hosted on Canada’s only publicly funded fiber-optic network, making it a truly unique, Canadian and sustainable content delivery service. Fitting then, to celebrate our first birthday today, given that this year’s theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities is Sustainable Development: The promise of technology.

Millions of Canadians have print disabilities “but they shouldn’t be denied the joy of reading,” said Doris Koop, Executive Director of the Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN). “NNELS helps libraries provide their patrons who have a print disability with full access to all of the wonderful books that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

We are proud of the new partnerships the Network has collectively forged across the publishing and production communities, across the knowledge sector, and around the world. We are buoyed by the community of practice that surrounds the Network; a community of practitioners and users learning, creating and sharing together. The NNELS community looks forward to more growth and participation during 2015.

We invite all to join the growing NNELS community. Learn more about us at:
Media contacts:

NNELS c/o BC Libraries Co-op: Ben Hyman, 1-855-383-5761 /

VIRN: Doris Koop, 204-793-0245 /